Elected officials and water leaders gathered Thursday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly expanded Henry C. Garnett Water Purification Plant. By doubling the capacity of the Henry C. Garnett Water Purification Plant, as many as 81,000 homes in the metropolitan Bakersfield area can be served.

The expansion is the major component of the Kern County Water Agency’s (Agency) Treated Water Capacity Expansion Project (TWCEP), which is part of the largest capital project phase in the Agency’s history.

“The Agency and the Improvement District No. 4 purveyors have worked very hard to develop a long- term plan to improve water quality and supplies for metropolitan Bakersfield,” said Gene Lundquist, Agency Board of Directors President. “This kind of achievement is worth celebrating!”

The upgrades are part of the revised agreement between the Agency and its treated water purveyors that was signed September 21, 2005. The agreement provides for the expansion and upgrade of the Henry C. Garnett Water Purification Plant. New and enhanced pumping and water treatment and transmission facilities were required to produce and deliver the water contracted by the TWCEP participants (California Water Service Company; the City of Bakersfield; East Niles Community Services District; and North of the River Municipal Water District, which wholesales to Oildale Mutual Water Company).

“This is a significant milestone for metropolitan Bakersfield by providing an increased treated water supply for the future,” added Lundquist.

The Agency was created in 1961 by a special act of the State Legislature and serves as the local contracting entity for the State Water Project. The Agency participates in a wide scope of management activities, including water quality, flood control and groundwater operations to preserve and enhance Kern County’s water supply- the main ingredient for the well-being of an economy.